I have a blood glucose monitor and did a simple study of my own blood glucose, taking a reading every half hour or so all day long, on four different sore-fingered days. Here is the bottom line result, where Day 1 is the next day after taking the DEX the previous evening. The "glucose" value is an average for the whole day, expressed in mg/dL:
|1||40||144||Highest was 193|
|5||40||88||DEX effect must be gone|
|More information about this little personal "study" is detailed in earlier blog posts HERE and HERE. Graphics included. The graph here shows Days 1, 2, & 5 on 40 mg DEX.|
I am NO expert in diabetes, but when Dr. L at Mayo saw the graphics and numbers for Day 1, she reduced my DEX dosage from 40 mg to 20 mg. The glucose spike of 193 mg/dL seemed to be a particularly important factor. Fasting glucose for a non-diabetic should be in the range of 80 to 120, and diabetics are urged to keep their glucose, fasting or not, below 180.
Many diabetics will need insulin shots along with a careful diet, but those of us who are not normally diabetic already have the insulin, except that its effect is inhibited by the DEX. Therefore we need to manage our temporary DEX-induced "diabetes" at least partly through diet. When I asked Dr. L about this, she commented that several of her patients are eating a low-carb diet on DEX day.
Here is a set of dietary principles that I have recently been following, with the help of Sunshine and Sweet Pea (they're the cooks!), on DEX day 1 and, to some extent, on Day 2:
- Most important: Keep the amount of food modest, because all food raises blood sugar. I do this with Weight Watchers "journaling," but calorie counting would work too;
- Reduce carbohydrates in favor of protein, and good fats such as nut oils, olive oil, and fish oils;
- Prefer carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, to reduce the glucose spike;
- Eat some of the protein and fat first at each meal, because this slows the entire digestive process and thereby moderates the glucose spike;
- Good food: Chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts, eggs, certain fruits and berries, legumes, whole-grain foods; and
- Bad food: Sugar (except fructose), soda, potato, candy, white bread or any relative, (the list goes on).
You might notice that the foods that we eat on the DEX diet are foods that are really good for us anyway, and delicious. Those that are bad are ones that we never eat, ever. We just tilt the balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. So except for the protein issue for those with kidney disease, there is no downside to eating like a diabetic for a day or two. The food can be wonderful!
I wholeheartedly invite your comments, pro or con, and I especially hope that you will straighten me out if I have made any errors, or share with us if you have something to add.
Examples of DEX day meals that I have recently eaten. Oh, the suffering that we put ourselves through :-)
Today's DEX lunch: Organic chicken breast, Jim's broccoli, dill cheese, organic strawberries. Weight Watchers points = 6.
Today's DEX salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, avocado, organic cashews, organic strawberries, pecans, organic red wine vinegar. Weight Watchers points = 6.
Yesterday's DEX dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, organic lime, Jim's organic beet greens, spinach, and onions, with a few organic raisins, plus orange and mango. Weight Watchers points = 8.